For the past few budget cycles, the film office has been allocated $50 million a year to use on film incentives. But lawmakers this week passed a budget that would effectively slash Michigan’s film incentives to $6 million in fiscal year 2016.
Legislators allocated $25 million to the film program but earmarked $19 million of it to pay off a state retirement fund obligation on a Pontiac movie studio. That leaves $6 million for incentives.
Michigan Film Office Director Jenell Leonard says, though, the industry can “absolutely” survive at that funding level. This lower funding amount for incentives would simply mean the Film Office would shift its focus to smaller productions coming from Michigan’s indigenous film industry.
“Hollywood producers are looking for a larger incentive than $6 million, most of the time,” Leonard said.
The Michigan Film Office already works regularly with Michigan film companies. In 2014, the office approved 27 projects, of which 90 percent were small, independent type films, more than half from Michigan-based companies.
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